Posted in Birthday

And Just Like That, She Turned Three…

Sweet Katie,

Today you turn three years old.

I feel as though I turned my back and you became a preschooler, full of curiosity and excitement, wishes and preferences. I want so badly to describe you, to find some way to summarize who you are in this moment, but I find that to be an impossible task.  You are complex and diverse.  My description is disjointed, as you are still putting together all of the pieces of who you are.

You are everything I ever dreamed that a daughter would be.

You are pure magic.  You taught me what it meant to be a mother and you teach me new lessons every day–lessons in patience, silliness, tenderness, and vulnerability.

You are silly and engaging. You love to giggle and you crave tickles.  These are moments that I will hold close for those days when you aren’t by my side.  I will never forget the sound of your laugh, the urgency in your eyes.

You have so much to say.  You got a late start, but since you began speaking, you talk so much that I keep thinking that we have certainly covered everything.  When I hear your voice, my heart cracks open with adoration and pride.

Though you are by nature a bit reserved and reluctant, when you open up, you are magnetic and engaging.  You are smart,  intuitive, and compassionate.

You are stunning.  Your hazel eyes sparkle and betray your thoughts.  It is so easy to see when you are making plans.

You are loving and kind.  When you reach for my hand or ask me to sit close to you, I would drop anything, Katie.  Nothing is more important than those moments with you, with your hand in mine.

Lately you’ve been asserting yourself a bit more and you are proving to be committed to the things that you want.  There are times when this exasperates me, but I’m also impressed with you.  I want you to learn how to hold firm when you want something and I am proud of you for communicating your wants so clearly.  Your vocabulary grows by the day, as does the complexity of your thoughts.  You are learning solid reasoning and debating skills and that makes me immeasurably happy.

Daddy and I realized last night that 1/6 of our time with you in our home is behind us.  I can’t fathom the day when you go off to college, when your world extends so far beyond us.  I hope that I have the strength and courage to let you go, but also the love and tenderness that makes you want to come back.

Thank you for bringing such beauty into my life.  Thank you for reminding me how wonderful it is to be silly and to giggle.  Thank you for lighting up when you see me.  You are a gift Katie.  I treasure my days with you and I am so incredibly grateful for you.

You have beautiful things in your future, Katie.

Above all, you are an angel, my beautiful, sweet girl.

Happy Birthday, Katie!

With a heart so full of love,


Memories of Childhood and Home

It could have been thirty years ago, it could have been yesterday, the memories are that vivid. 

You walked in the front door and to the right sat the living room.  The carpeting, red and black shag rug.  The furniture, black leather.  This is where I watched Gilligan’s Island reruns, waited for Santa every year, and where my mother would play Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Suzie Q” and dance with me for hours. 

You moved through the living room and entered the dining room, where we gathered to celebrate birthdays every year.  We would eat cake that was always beautifully decorated by my mother, in the shape of a roller skate one year, of Holly Hobbie in another.  We would have ice cream–it came in a box and was sliced with a knife, and was always Neapolitan–stripes of chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla.  (Do they even make that anymore?) 

Eventually, you found yourself in a kitchen bathed in the warmest sunlight, sunlight that made my mother’s hazel eyes sparkle, the flecks of gold just glorious.  The sun shone through the windows and across the kitchen table, where I ate bowls of chicken and stars soup, mountains of grilled cheese sandwiches, and piles of warm peanut butter chip cookies.  There was a television in our kitchen, where I watched episodes of The Donny and Marie Show and Sonny and Cher, by myself,  in the dark and in complete bliss.  (The flickering light of the television in otherwise darkness still transports me back to these nights.)

As you left the kitchen, you moved through the dining room and faced the staircase leading upstairs to our bedrooms.  If you passed my mother’s bedroom, you walked directly into mine, a room furnished with a  white canopy bed with butterfly bedding and matching bureaus.  It was here that I hosted annual slumber parties–parties where we would whisper about Shawn Cassidy and have dance competitions.  Many hours were spent here playing house and giggling with friends.

Outside was a large yard, perfect for making mud pies, watching a parade go by, and playing freeze tag.  Summer days were spent mixing dandelion petals into mud and offering them up to my mother for lunch.  We ran in the sprinkler, the water from the hose just cold enough to make us squeal with equal parts delight and discomfort.  We manned our lemonade stand (how lucky we were to live in a time when people still bought lemonade from children selling it).  In the fall, we would rake up all of the leaves and jump in our piles for hours.  I can still recall the smell of the decaying leaves, the joy I had jumping in them, and the discomfort of having the broken leaf bits inside of my clothing.    The winter brought so much snow that we could dig and make forts tall enough to stand inside.  We built seats and huddled together for warmth. 

This house sat directly across from a Catholic church and if I sit still, I can still hear the sounds of the church bells that rang out each Saturday evening and Sunday morning.  If you were quiet enough and the breeze was just right, you could hear the parishioners singing the hopeful hymns in beautiful unison, their voices spilling out through the open front doors. 

This was my childhood home.  This is the home where my mother raised me for the first decade of my life.  This is the home that I will always conjure up if you ask me to describe where I grew up.  This is the home in which I was happiest. 

I’ve always missed this house.  If you asked me why, I’m not entirely sure what I would say. 

Was it the house itself?  Unlikely. 

Was it the neighborhood?  I don’t think so.  

Perhaps it was more a combination of things.  It was not just playing outside, but knowing that my mother was inside making cocoa, the kind with those tiny little marshmallows that always melted just before you could actually feel them on your tongue.  It wasn’t just watching tv in the kitchen, but knowing that my mother was in the other room, waiting to tuck me in and tell me just how much she loved me. 

As I watch our children in our home, I wonder what they will remember.  Will they be able to recall the smells of rosemary or cilantro or pancakes that came from our kitchen?  Will they hear a Dave Matthews or Keith Urban song and be transported back to our living room, to hours spent dancing and laughing?  Will they see a Giant’s game on television and remember lazy weekend days, spent in our living room watching them play on television?  Will they see  and smell gardenias and remember how they grew just outside our back door? 

Will they combine these tangible things with the intangible, the love we have for them, the love that we have for each other, and combine them into a full and beautiful memory? 

I pray that we are giving them the ingredients for these memories.  I pray for happy childhoods for our babies.

A Letter of Love to My Sweet Son

Dear Matthew,

As impossible as it is to believe, you are six months old today.  A friend once said about the passage of time that the days may drag on, but the years fly by, and I’m finding that to be so painfully true.We had some truly difficult times in those early months, days where we both cried too often, but we are now finding our rhythm and I am grateful for each moment that I have with you.  I look at you now and cannot believe that we had such a rough beginning.

Since you were finally diagnosed with and treated for acid reflux, you are a remarkably different baby.  Gone are the days of incessant crying, shrieking, back arching, and vomiting.  You now smile, you play, you sleep, and you hug.  I am sorry that it took us so long to find you some relief, my sweet boy.

You now sit independently and your huge, toothless grin shows just how proud of yourself you are.  You light up when Katie comes near and you can’t get enough of her hugs and kisses.  You are also trying desperately to figure out how to crawl and if I’m honest, I hope you wait a bit.

There are several small and precious moments in the day when it is just the two of us and I find myself staring at you in awe.  I can’t believe my good fortune to have you as my son.

I look into your beautiful baby eyes and I wonder how you see me.  Do you see how saddened I am that we had such a rough start?   Do you see how I smile at the mere sight of you? Can you possibly even begin to imagine just how much I adore you?

I touch your cute little ears and I wonder why it is that you love my singing.  (You are truly the only one who does.)

I look at your sweet mouth and eagerly await the sound of you calling out my name.  The sound of your laughter brightens my days, sweet boy.

I hold your tiny baby hands and find it impossible to imagine that one day your hand will dwarf mine.  I am so grateful for your touch, the way you rub my face in the sweetest way, as though you are trying to tell me something important.

I tickle your chubby little legs and hope that you have them for a while, since you are our last baby and I can’t bear the thought of you growing.

I look at your tiny feet and yummy baby toes and can’t believe just how perfect you are.

You are a joy, Matthew.  You are delicious and happy and above all, you are a true blessing.

I love you,

Birthday Crazies

Our baby girl turns three at the end of this month.  I’ve been thinking a lot about her special day and, honestly, my head hurts just thinking about it.  The headline on the May issue of Parents magazine’s reads “Birthday Blowout!”  That’s what I feel my head is going to do if I’m not careful.

When I was little, birthdays looked something like this:

My family would gather together–aunts, uncles, cousins and a very small handful of friends.  There would be cake, ice cream, and perhaps party hats.  And love.  Yeah, love.

Here’s what Katie’s birthday party looked like last year:

We did a tea party theme (I know, right?!  When I was a kid, the theme was IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY!).

The menu included shaved roast beef sandwiches with homemade creamy horseradish sauce, a variety of tea sandwiches, pasta salad, fruit salad, sliced strawberries, fruit kabobs, and fresh raspberry lemonade.

The goody bags were filled with necklace kits, bracelets, stickers, and the like.  We had thirty guests, twelve of whom were children.  We had balloons everywhere, we set up craft stations both inside and out, and blah, blah, blah, you get the picture.

How did this happen?  Keeping up with the Jones’, that’s how.

Parties these days are different and there is this overwhelming part of me that wants Katie to have the same things that her peers are having.  Over the past couple of years, we’ve been to parties at gymnastics facilities, indoor playgrounds, parties with bounce houses in the backyard, and I even have a friend who hired actresses to dress up as princesses to make the rounds at her child’s party.

Katie has loved attending these parties, and I while I applaud the mothers who put together these elaborate celebrations, there is a part of me that wished they’d knock it off.

Last year, I was so busy making sure thirty people were having a good time, that I barely saw Katie.  I feel as though I robbed myself of memories of my sweet girl turning two.  We’ve decided that we’re just not doing it this year.

So, I’m declaring here that we’re keeping it simple.  Just a small handful of people, lots of love, and a bounce house.  (Yeah, we kinda promised that one.)

About me

Nichole Beaudry @NicholeBeaudry Location: Northern California
Each and every day, I strive to appreciate the wonder, beauty, and whimsy in the small moments, the moments that, when strung together, form a lifetime.
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